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Irish Times: Fishermen angered by Garda role at Corrib protest

By: Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent,
Published: Oct 11, 2006

North Mayo fishermen have criticised the decision to deploy gardaI to “facilitate” Shell E&P Ireland after about 100 people engaged in a peaceful protest at the controversial Corrib terminal site early yesterday.

The Erris Inshore Fishermen’s Association said yesterday it was both “very concerned about” and “extremely annoyed” at “the fact that the peacekeepers of our country, An Garda SIochana, are being used by our Government against local people in an aggressive manner”.

Association spokesmen Eddie Diver and Eamonn Dixon said they believed the Garda deployment was to “facilitate the policy of a multinational corporation whose prime purpose in Erris is to enhance and maximise its own profits”.

“The Erris fishermen have always stressed they have not now, nor ever had, any problem with the gas coming ashore in Erris, provided it is done safely and in an environmentally-friendly way,” the association said in a statement.

“This is something we have in common with those protesting in Bellanaboy at the moment, and also with the vast majority of the people of Erris,” the association said.

“The sooner Shell E&P Ireland comes to grips with this basic reality, and engages realistically with all of us, the sooner we can all get back to our lives and let the gas flow.”

The Erris fishermen’s main concern for several years has been the impact of the proposed discharge pipe which will carry contaminants from gas processed at the refinery out to sea.

It says that the company has “never seriously addressed this problem”, and it has only been examined by the Department of the Marine’s marine licence vetting committee.

“We appeal to Shell and to our Government to do so now before this very solvable problem develops into the confrontation it has the potential to be,” the association said.

It said it was also time for the Government to take a “more active, balanced and people-friendly role in the advancement of the Corrib gas project,” it added.

Shell E&P Ireland said yesterday that the issue of water discharge would be dealt with through the “relevant legislative process”, under a licensing application with the Environmental Protection Agency.

The company said it welcomed the Erris fishermen’s call for engagement, and said it agreed that engagement was the best way forward.

The company also said it hoped that its recent appointment of a fisheries liaison co-ordinator was “a step in the right direction”. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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